Thursday, March 22, 2018

Good news, everyone

According to my oncologist, there is now no evidence of bone cancer.

I had a PET-CT scan at the very end of December, which revealed that my large bones, notably my spine and pelvis, were riddled with cancer that had evidently metastasised from the gastric cancer that is the source of these oncological blues.

One course of ten radiation therapy sessions and six sessions of FOLFOX chemo later, and last week's follow-up PET-CT scan shows no evidence of bone cancer. I have 'responded very well' to the treatment. The oncologist has kindly pointed out the the holes in my bones are probably there for life and I'm forever banned from heavy lifting, but these holes in my bones are now not filled with anything malignant.

She fell short of using the words 'cured' or even 'remission', and was cautious in being unable to advise how long the current situation would prevail. I have another six chemo sessions to go, and there will inevitably be further tests at the end of that. FOLFOX doesn 't really care what cancer it attacks, so I hope it's giving the stomach tumour a good kicking.

I'm now experimenting with reduced pain medication in an attempt to wean myself off opiates. A desirable side-effect of being off the drugs means that celebratory drinks become possible.

I am sure that my oncologist simply hates motorcycles, but I now have clearance to ride my Kawasaki 1400, subject to No Heavy Lifting. Fair enough. She says that the riding isn't a problem, and I can use the sidestand more and the centrestand less. Some riders never use the centrestand, and there are many bikes out there that only have a sidestand. I have to be big-bike fit by July in order to undertake my road trip.

Here's a shoutout to all those who have sent me their messages of goodwill and now congratulations and 'likes' on social media. This has been a source enormous psychological support to know that there are people rooting for me. Positive Mental Attitude must surely have helped, even though FOLFOX has probably been of greatest benefit. Thank you all.


Thursday, March 08, 2018

Bike flight fright

Motorcycles do not fly. At least mine doesn't.

My speculative plans  to ship my GTR over to the USA for this summer's Great American Bucket List Road Trip have come to a resounding phutt. This is because I have received a grand total of two responses from my dozen or so enquiring emails to specialist "We ship motorbikes internationally" companies. Ten have failed to see fit to respond at all to my emails or follow-up emails, and one responded with "We don't ship from the middle east."

So that leaves one.

Twenty days after enquiring I got an email response to my reminder.

"We'll get back to you in a few hours."

Some 300 hours and several further reminders later, I got my quote. Eight Thousand Dollars. That's approaching what the bike's worth. And, lest we forget, the quote excludes the costs of a vast pile of known unknowns: Door delivery using a TSA vetted trucker; VAT; other unspecified tax; Customs duty; import duty; loading and offloading; crating; airport storage.

The fact that rather a lot of these listed charges should only apply in the case of permanent import rather suggests that the shipper hasn't thought this thing through.

Temporary import requires a Carnet de Passage. This is essentially a passport for the vehicle, and basically says that it is considered road legal in the country it's visiting, and it'll be taken out of the country again. So it is an utter nonsense that the UAE authorities would charge 5% of the value of the bike upon its return to the UAE as if it's a foreign bike being imported. It would be like driving to Muscat for the weekend and being charged 5% of the value by Oman authorites and then 5% by the UAE authorities on the way back. Nonsense. The shipping company has no knowledge of the Carnet de Passage.

Compare with testimonials on websites from which I never received a response.

"We arrived at the airport and rode away on our bikes an hour later..."

The bottom line, however, is this: $8000 is prohibitive. I could buy a decent used one out of the US small ads and throw it away a month later, still saving a great wad of cash. Always assuming I could get it registered; not necessarily a given, what with me being an alien and all that.

So it looks like I'll be solving the matter by throwing money at the problem. Bike rental is around $100-$120 a day, and I've always wondered what it'd be like to spend some time on a Gold Wing.


Sunday, March 04, 2018

Plato's Cave

Like most of the people I know, I seem to get a high proportion of my outside experience from social media. Notably Facebook. Yes, like some prisoner in the Allegory of Plato's Cave, I'm getting all my information about the world from a little glowing screen and very little from real life. It's The Matrix.  From time to time something from this manufactured reality really hits home.

One such item was posted by George Takei, linking to an article possibly from the Knowable emporium of clickbaitery. In summary, one anecdote under "Unexpected Things The Doctor Said":

 "I went to the doctor with backache and came out with cancer."

 Oh yes; very familiar indeed.

Another meme, and this time quite independent of the above, was a panel that said something like:

"I weather major crises, 
and then break down 
when I can't find a teaspoon."

This too is happening to me.

DOCTOR:  "You've got incurable Stage IV cancer. We can control it, but you'll need medical intervention for the rest of your life."

ME: "I see. With treatment, can I lead a reasonably normal life?"

DOCTOR:  "Reasonably, yes."


ME: *Destructive temper tantrum because the new DVD is cracked out of the box and won't play.*

Still later...

ME:  *Massive yelling and throwing things because I'm getting no responses to my email enquiries.*

I am basically a dangerous and paranoid menace to society. Not a nice person at all. Most of the time I am just about able to keep a lid on it, but my life has been one crisis after another since 2010. See old blog posts for the litany.

2010 - Made redundant.
2011 - Made redundant (Constructively dismissed for refusing to commit fraud, actually.)
2011 - 2012  Job from Hell in Qatar Resigned after a year.
2012 - 2014  Banned from Qatar because no NOC from Job from Hell 
2014 - 2016  Job from Hell II in Qatar. Was supposed to be for six months. Contract ended after two years.
2017 - Incurable Stage IV cancer. Unable to take up new job.
2018 - With the clock ticking and, let's be frank, not much time to go, being jerked around by Officialdom over my bucket list.

ME: *Considers reasons to keep trying at all.*


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